Thursday, August 9, 2012

Using Current Design Methodologies to Create New Ones

By Danielle Slatinsky

Lance Dublin, Chief Solutions Architect at Dublin Consulting, hosted a webinar on March 6th titled “A Whack on the Head: Re-thinking Learning Design.” Dublin encouraged listeners to create and reformat learning designs instead of only using existing modules. He is really interested in finding alternative solutions to solving problems.

Dublin started out the webinar by showing a picture of a bicycle with no spokes. He said how fascinated he was when he first saw this picture, because he never would have thought to create a picture like that. He emphasized how design is not a department in a building; rather, it is a behavior or attitude.

Studying various learning tools and taking what we like from them to form our own tools is a very creative process. Dublin asked the audience what a new model for learning design would look like, and he encouraged a thought process that is creative and combines multiple approaches.

He referenced current design methodologies such as ADDIE, HPT, BPR, Six Sigma, LEAN, and AGILE. He stated that while these are all excellent resources, we should be learning from them to make new methodologies instead of continuing to use the same ones.

Branching Out and Expanding Resources

Dublin focused on how many people try to utilize everything they know about how a problem started when trying to solve a problem. According to him, learning designers need to look into the future instead of the past for problem solving by examining learning and organization trends. Solutions should all be interrelated and expandable.

It can be helpful to seek inspiration from great innovators of the past. Dublin referenced Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Frank Llyod Wright, and Wayne Gretzky as good role models for how to create something new.

As technology expands, so does innovation and competition in the workplace. Everything is expected to be done at a greater speed and at a lower cost. Dublin explained this point further by saying that while all of these things increase, resources such as money, people, and time often decrease. Thankfully, wireless networks allow for resources to be used in an optimal manner. The entire world is networked together, making location irrelevant.

Current Methodologies and Possible Innovations

Dublin explained how these days it seems that just good enough is considered alright. Learning designers don't have enough time to provide superior performance, so they need to adapt to the ever-changing environment.

Next, Dublin briefly described the current design methodologies used for learning development. He started with ADDIE, which is a five phase instructional design model. As often discussed, this model is very generic, and there are multiple variations of it. Then he described Human Performance Technology (HPT), which strives to improve competence and productivity by using three processes: performance analysis, cause analysis, and intervention selection. Dublin asserted that this model has value and encourages thinking more holistically.

After that, Dublin mentioned Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), and he explained how this consists of an analysis of processes within a company. For example, an organization that follows this methodology would examine what is effective and ineffective for them, and then figure out how to get the organization where it needs to be.

Another design methodology Dublin brought up is Six Sigma; this is an approach that is data-driven with a goal of eliminating variability. It is a measurement-based design strategy that focuses on improving processes. While Six Sigma positively impacted multiple organizations, many companies switched to LEAN because it has the advantage of speed combined with good qualities from Six Sigma. Lastly, Dublin described how AGILE is a software development methodology that focuses on incremental and iterative development. AGILE is being increasingly adopted within the learning development community.

When Dublin finished explaining various design methodologies, he transitioned by saying that there are alternative methods other than ADDIE. He focused on the importance of new design and how learning designers should take what they like from each methodology to create their own.

Dublin then went on to explain his new learning design, which consists of eight points. Below is a brief description of his eight points:

  1. It is important to work from right to left. Begin by understanding the problem that needs to be solved, and then try to solve it.
  2. Defining metrics and success is essential. Examine how the organization will measure success, and keep the audience in mind.
  3. Speed is crucial, so be ready to move faster if needed.
  4. Make sure to understand what the audience wants.
  5. Gain knowledge of processes and develop learning processes.
  6. Create multimedia environments that enhance performance.
  7. Don't get too committed to one thing.
  8. Be a good people person. Add value to the product.

Dublin concluded the webinar by saying that his way is not the only right way. He encouraged listeners to create their own methodologies and branch out from the structures of the past in order to make the way for the future.

Which methodologies are you currently using or considering?

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